Women and the Glass Ceiling
IQ - Bell-Curve - Intelligence Debate
I shall illustrate the phenomonon of the glass ceiling effect on intelligent women resulting in unintended consequences, taken from a sermon where the preacher made a sincere attempt to promote a woman as an example of a CEO. It wasn't his fault it backfired. The sermon was on finances. The theme was to give until it hurts. Oh, the content of the sermon is not critical to my presentation, so I shall merely give an anecdote:
"So I tell him," said Rabbinowitz, "I say, Herman, with all your business and such a success and with what you have in the bank, and I know how much it is because I'm your accountant, you still throw money around like a man with no arms." ... "Be a tzaddik, I say. Give a little. Besides, someone in your tax bracket, you could use the deductions. Give a little, Herman, I say, give till it hurts. So what does he do? He clutches his chest and says, 'It hurts, it hurts.'"
I didn't watch the 2004 superbowl--in fact, I don't even watch TV--but
I saw in the paper a picture of a contrite looking Janet Jackson who
apologized for a "wardrobe malfunction" when she lost a bit too much
clothing at the halftime show. I figured I'd give her the benefit
of the doubt; she was embarrassed, so I wasn't going to dwell on it.
I don't think the Good Book really want us to dwell on the bad but
on the good. She apologized, and so I let it go at that, though to
be sure, since I hadn't watched the show, she didn't have to apologize
Then the radio kept playing it up all week, and evidently there was a web site and other places where one could actually see a picture of a bare boob she apologized for. And unlike a fleeting glimpse in the background of the actual event, this pic was a blown up display. But I kept my focus and I kept my mind pure all week. I can truthfully say I had a pure mind during the whole week's onslaught.
Then came next Sunday's sermon when the preacher illustrated a CEO demonstrating "her company's glory" by "showing off her figure and displaying her assets." At least that's what I thought I heard, although, it turns out, those weren't the exact words of the preacher. There went my pure mind.
This, I believe, is an unintended consequence of trying to find a substitute in a feminine pronoun for the conventional masculine applied to either sex unknown.
SEXISM. B. The Pronoun Problem272
The first problem in the preacher using generic feminine pronouns in his sermons is "unintended connotations." A congregation is sometimes weak in the flesh. Sometimes when they hurt, it's not because they are giving that they hurt, but they really hurt. And when we are told of a CEO showing off her figures and displaying her assets, we might really picture her in all her glory.
The second problem is that it might not really help women in the long run. I assume that perhaps the preacher was trying to give women a leg up who are prevented by a "glass ceiling" from rising to top executive positions in statistically significant numbers. But that is, perhaps, to misunderstand the problem.
John Allen Paulos, A Mathematician Reads The Newspaper273
God made women the "weaker vessel" on some bell curves. I don't know
why that is. Maybe the minister could tell me. But being generally
weaker means--in a universe governed by laws of probability, and in
a competitive jungle of executive labor--that women would ordinarily
not achieve the top slots in significant numbers. They have
intelligence as mothers, though, and, say, a good figure and belle curves naturally attractive to a mate for childbearing.
Now, Hezekiah showed off his treasures to the ambassadors from Babylon, which was a mistake. That happened during the fifteen year life extension he prayed for and got. During that time he also had his son Manasses the wickedest king of the lot. Seems that his prayer was not the best example.
I think that opening up the Bible to modern translation exposes it to danger of biblical truth being snatched out of it just as the Babylonians grabbed the treasure of the temple, and it produces the possibility of great wickedness like Manasses. Is our desire for modernized translations instead of a sacred dialect more in line with Moses wanting to know God's presence and his ways or more for our own convenience like Hezekiah wanting to live longer? I am going to use the following illustration:
The cash register in the Greek's diner was an army-green NCR model that had been there when the Greek bought the place. The Greek would shove down the price keys, numbers would pop into a window for the customer to see, and the drawer would fly open--usually hitting the Greek in his ample stomach. The Greek didn't care. Every hit in the stomach was money in the bank, he liked to say.
I hope the preacher doesn't mind if I compare him to the Greek. The preacher uses a modern English translation of the Bible whose words the congregation immediately relates to like numbers popping into a window for the customer to see. Rather than its common language rubbing him the wrong way, he treats it like money in the bank. And he doesn't seem to mind the places where the words were changed to give an entirely new sense.
"No Personal Checks" has a business sense just as Paul's "be not unequally yoked" was given in context of involvements in Christian ministry, but the NIV has improperly imported it back into an earlier epistle to tell us whom not to marry, "No Fat Chicks." And from Ecclesiastes, "He has put the world in their hearts" encompasses a large universe of distraction which the preacher's modern version narrows down to "eternity in their hearts," one aspect of it. In the movie "American Beauty," it is the son who sees beauty in every little thing but his father hasn't got a clue because his former marine training is so ingrained in his personality, "the world in his heart." The eternal faithfulness, semper fidelis, is but one aspect of marine training, just as the right to refuse service to Louie only touches one of the whole public to whom that applies, although an important one.
Matel Co. has broken up the Ken and Barbie doll set. There was a radio skit interviewing Barbie herself who said that she has to get on with her life, "stand up straight and stick my chest out." She said that 43 years is long enough to go with someone and still be unable to decide on a future. When asked what kind of a doll she was looking for, she replied, "One that is anatomically correct."
Today our dolls must be anatomically correct, our generic pronouns feminine--in whole or in part--, and our Bibles in ordinary day to day dialect. Treasures in Christ. Do the dolls we give our children need to be anatomically correct to be treasured? Aren't we distracted enough by thoughts of women without making every generic pronoun (all or part) feminine? And what do we gain by putting the sacred dialect (KJV) Bible on the shelf and distracting ourselves with Bibles in profane dialect? Doesn't that keep the world in our hearts?
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Copyright © 2004, Earl S. Gosnell III
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Permission is hereby granted to use the portions original to this paper--with credit given, of course--in intellectually honest non-profit educational material. The material I myself have quoted has its own copyright in most cases, which I cannot speak for but have used here under the fair use doctrine.
I have used material from a number of sources for teaching, comment and illustration in this nonprofit teaching endeavor. The sources are included in a notes file. Such uses must be judged on individual merit, of course, so I cannot say how other uses of the same material might fare.
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